“No voter should have to choose between their health and their right to vote during the pandemic.”
Civil rights advocates applauded a victory for voting rights Monday after a federal judge denied a right-wing group’s request to restrict the use of absentee ballots in Virginia.
The Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law argued last week in favor of upholding the law, passed by Democratic legislators in February, which would allow Virginia voters to use absentee ballots in the 2020 election without providing an excuse.
Previously, voters were required to prove that they couldn’t vote in person because they had an illness or disability; had a work, school, or family obligation; or were traveling.
Allowing people to use absentee ballots is especially important in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Lawyers’ Committee argued, weeks after in-person voting in Wisconsin was linked to dozens of Covid-19 cases.
“No voter should have to choose between their health and their right to vote during the pandemic,” tweeted Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee.
🚨BREAKING: Victory in Virginia! Access to absentee ballots remains firmly in place for voters during the 2020 elections. No voter should have to choose between their health and their right to vote during the #pandemic.
A major defeat for the operatives at True the Vote. pic.twitter.com/vTYjXJWRR5
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) June 1, 2020
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of six voters by True the Vote, a group that trains volunteers to “monitor” election sites in the interest of stopping so-called voter fraud—which numerous studies have found to be “vanishingly rare.” The group’s activities have drawn accusations of voter intimidation.
True the Vote claimed that if Virginia voters are allowed to vote absentee even if they are not sick or living with a disability that prevents them from leaving home, voters will be encouraged to make false statements on their ballots.
“Conservative activists tried to use a deadly pandemic as a way to suppress voter turnout and disenfranchise tens of thousands of Virginians who fear that their health and safety would be jeopardized by voting in person, but they failed,” said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.
The ruling comes as President Donald Trump continues to wage attacks on vote-by-mail efforts, saying the use of mail-in ballots is ripe for rampant “cheating” by Democrats—despite the fact that five states, including solidly red Utah, already exclusively conduct elections by mail.
“Like it or not, more people will have the opportunity to vote in Virginia this year,” wrote Democratic attorney Adam Bear.
In recent weeks, a number of states have moved to expand voting-by-mail and absentee voting for the 2020 elections, including Michigan, Iowa, Georgia, and West Virginia.
The federal judge who handed down the ruling in Virginia on Friday, Judge Rossie Alston Jr., is a Trump appointee and said his court was “constrained at this time from remedying these constitutional grievances.”
The Lawyers’ Committee vowed to continue fighting challenges to voting rights in Virginia and around the country.
“We will keep fighting groups like Judicial Watch and True the Vote that are mounting voter suppression efforts to deny people access to the ballot this season,” Clarke wrote. “All voters deserve [a] voice in our democracy.”
Veteran Republican operative shames the GOP — and warns they won’t get rid of Trumpism ‘for at least a generation’
Stuart Stevens is a veteran Republican campaign operative from five presidential races. When he spoke to PBS's Judy Woodruff Wednesday, he lamented the GOP failed the moral test it was presented with Donald Trump.
"Well, I think there's been two strains in the party. Call it an Eisenhower strain going back to the '50s and a McCarthy strain," Stevens said, recalling when the GOP would talk about expanding their party and bringing in more African-American voters. "Now we don't even hear any talk anymore of a big tent. And we seem to have settled into a very comfortable white grievance identity."
Seth Meyers mocks Trump’s Axios interview where he ‘couldn’t even remember his own BS — that’s how fried his brain is’
In his response to President Donald Trump's bizarre interview with Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, "Late Night" comedian Seth Meyers explained the Trump interview in a single photo:
"You know something has gone horribly wrong when a journalist interviewing the president looks like that," said Meyers. "That's the face you make when your dad gets drunk and decides to tell you about the night you were conceived."
Former Trump ambassador tells Rachel Maddow ‘it’s a big red flag’ that Trump is trying to hide investigation of Turnberry scam
Former acting ambassador to the U.K., Lewis Lukens, told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that the inspector general raised questions to him and embassy staff in the U.K. about President Donald Trump's demand for the ambassador to lobby for the British Open to be hosted at Trump's golf course in Scotland.
According to Lukens, he told those questioning how to go about getting the British Open at Trump Turnberry, and Lukens said he was clear that it was "unethical" and "possibly illegal." Still, Trump's cronies persisted.
He explained that when the inspector general did the investigation they went back to Washington to write up the report and that it should have been released by now, but it obviously has not. Today, the acting IG, who took over just three months ago, abruptly resigned.